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Matt Gurwell
Matt Gurwell
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New Program to Help Concerned Families of Older Drivers

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Keeping Us Safe's Family Empowerment Session

Family Empowerment Session

Just last week, a New Orleans newspaper headline read “Four hurt when 96-year-old driver crashes into senior center”.  The victims were taken to the hospital for treatment for their injuries.  One victim was pinned beneath the car and had to be pulled out by first responders.  According to police, the floor of the community center near the shattered window was smeared with blood.  The 96-year-old driver was not injured.

Also last week, a Santee, California headline read “Missing elderly Santee couple found safe”.  According to authorities, the husband and wife are both in the beginning stages of dementia.   Marlin Stewart, 88, and his wife Norma, 81, were reported missing by Norma’s sister after leaving home early Monday morning in a 2003 silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo, according to a statement from the county sheriff’s department. The couple became the subject of a “Silver Alert,” which prompted the public to keep an eye out for them.  Fortunately, this particular story ended well.  The couple was spotted and were reunited with their family by police.

Sadly, these types of preventable tragedies and near tragedies continue to occur every day across America.

In an effort to help eliminate the likelihood of these types of occurrences, Keeping Us Safe has unveiled its new program titled the “Family Empowerment Session”.  This in-person session is ideal for the family that believes they can handle the topic of a driving retirement with their loved one on their own, but would appreciate some direction, guidance, support and encouragement on how best to handle the discussions with their parent.

The 1-hour session takes place in the comfort and privacy of the concerned family’s home and is conducted by any one of Keeping Us Safe’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals.  The BDD Professional will listen to the family’s concerns and will work to answer specific questions about their loved-one’s driving abilities.

The family will then be presented with a copy of “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for the families of older drivers”.  They will be provided with a guided tour of the workbook with special emphasis being placed on the family’s specific concerns.

At the conclusion of the session, the family will receive the “Family Empowerment Session” Resource Guide.  The guide contains such items as:

  •  Keeping Us Safe’s Family Driving Agreement (as recognized by the New York Times)
  •  Keeping Us Safe’s “Invitation to Help” form
  •  A list of danger signs in driving skills
  •  Tips on what to watch for in mom’s driving
  •  Keeping Us Safe’s “Dimensional Performance Recap”
  •  A list of transportation options and additional resources in their community

For families that are not comfortable with handling the conversations themselves, Keeping Us Safe continues to offer its nationally recognized “Enhanced Self-Assessment Program” for older drivers.  This is a 3-hour, one-on-one session conducted with the older driver him or herself, and includes an on-road driving exercise.  The program was built on the premise that everyone (including older drivers!) wants to participate in decisions that affect them, and that very few of us will willingly accept the specific terms or even the spirit of decisions that have been dictated by someone else.

Nancy Schuster, Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional serving Cincinnati, Ohio, explains “Our new ‘Family Empowerment Session’ is designed to provide concerned families with the education and material they need so that they can have “the driving talk” with their loved-one themselves, without outside intervention.  Our goal is to provide the family with the tools necessary to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for their loved one from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.”

Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe, explains that “Our programs provide concerned families with the missing link between their desire to bring this issue to a peaceful resolution, and their ability to actually do so.”

At the present time, the “Family Empowerment Session” is only available in the Atlanta and Cincinnati areas and in the greater Covington/Newport communities of northern Kentucky.  The “Enhanced Self-Assessment Program is available nationwide.  To learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s programs, call toll-free 877-907-8841 or visit the Keeping Us Safe website at http://www.keepingussafe.org.